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Residents who work with the Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) and whose jobs bring them in contact with children are required to receive a criminal and civil background investigation. Agencies and databases that workers must successfully pass a background investigation with include the National Fingerprint Based Criminal History Background Check, Child Protective Services organizations throughout the United States, Sex and Violent Offender databases, and Local Law Enforcement (LEA) agencies.
Custodial parents must prove paternity when they apply to receive child support from the child's non-custodial parent. County prosecutor offices and Child Support Division representatives can have a court order request sent to the child's father to order that he submit to a paternity test. Fathers can also sign a paternity affidavit to prove paternity. Non-custodial parents who are delinquent in paying child support can have their wages garnished. They can also have their state and federal income tax returns intercepted by the Indiana Child Protection Services until they become current in their child support payments.
Leaving Children Home Alone
Indiana law requires that youth under 18 years of age be supervised. Parents are permitted to use good judgment including taking the child's maturity level and environment into consideration before they leave a child under 18 years of age home alone. Should parents or legal guardians leave the child in the care of a sibling, neighbor or other adult, the parent or legal guardian still remains ultimately responsible for what happens to the child until the child reaches 18 years of age.
Members of the Indiana Child and Family Team (CFT) work to locate the best alternative living arrangement for abused or neglected children. Children can be assigned to reside in a licensed foster care home, an institution, or a court-approved agency. Abused or neglected children are also permitted to live with a non-abusive relative or a mature adult who is close to the child's family. Initial foster care stays last for 24-hours. Children remain in the home until the biological parent becomes able to adequately care for the child. Should this not result, the child can be placed in foster care permanently.
Reporting Abuse or Neglect
People who report instances of child abuse or neglect in Indiana can do so anonymously. The neglect or abuse does not have to be proven. The person who filed the report of abuse or neglect will be free from all civil and criminal liability if they report the abuse or neglect in good faith or in a spirit of honesty.
Suspected Child Abuse
In Kentucky, instances of child abuse or alleged child abuse are investigated by the DCBS. The law grants DCBS workers the authority to interview children who are suspected victims of child abuse without the consent or presence of their parents.
If a medical professional in Kentucky suspects child abuse, she can hold the child against the will of the parents. If she does so, she must request an emergency custody order (ECO) within three days. Police can remove a child from her home if they believe the child is in imminent danger. A child can also be removed from a dangerous home by court order. Once the child is removed, the circuit court can terminate all parental rights and place the child in foster care if there are sufficient grounds for doing so. A social worker does not have the authority to remove a child from his home.
Termination of Rights
In Kentucky, a court does not always need proof that a child is abused or neglected to separate him from his parents. A court can terminate a person's parental rights if he has been convicted on criminal charges of harming another child and there is reason to believe that the same could happen to his child.
Instances where a parent lacks the mental capacity to provide proper care for the child can also result in termination of parental rights. The mental health of the parent is determined by a qualified medical professional.
Protection of Delinquents
In instances of juvenile delinquency or suspected delinquency, the law in Kentucky aims to protect minors. For example, the law does not permit the state to detain minors for extended periods of time without the knowledge of their parents. The law requires that the parents be notified, or if unavailable, another responsible adult should be notified.
If a minor is taken into custody and he is not charged as an adult, the offense does not warrant prolonged detention. The child is released to a parent or other responsible adult. Any child who is 10 years old or younger, and charged with a capital offense or Class A or B felony, will be taken to a juvenile detention facility or youth alternative center only when other alternatives are unavailable.